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01 October 2009

Her Excellency
GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO
President of the Republic of the Philippines

Excellency:

I write to you on a matter of grave importance and utmost urgency for


your foreign service corps---the appointment of Mr. ESTEBAN CONEJOS, JR.
as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

I have been requested to bring to your attention the collective plaint of


the foreign service corps:

1. This appointment of Mr. Conejos not only brings the level of non-
career ambassadors to its highest level in Philippine history, it
places your Excellency in imminent breach of the statutory limit set
by Section 17 of Republic Act No. 7157, otherwise known as the
Foreign Service Act of 1991. As of 28 September 2009, there are 29
non-career ambassadors and 36 career ambassadors. Of the latter
group, about eight (8) have ended their tour of duty (and are on
short-term extensions) or about to end their tour of duty within
sixty (60) days. Thus, if all these 8 career ambassadors return home,
your Excellency will have breached the statutory limits even
without the appointment of Mr. Conejos.

2. This instant appointment will burden the Government with an


additional expenditure in the range of US$70,000 for an appointee
who will stay less than eight (8) months at post. Such kind of
expenditure may be seen as grossly insensitive to the current
mood of channeling all available resources towards relief and
rebuilding for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.

3. The global trend buttresses the call for a higher ratio of career
ambassador over non-career appointees. Even the US, which has
an embedded practice of appointing political ambassadors, has
significantly reduced such appointments. Moreover, the highest
ratio of political appointees in the US system was 33% under the
Reagan Administration---a figure that is at least 25% lower than the
current ratio prevailing in the Philippines. Many countries---UK,
France, Japan, Germany, Canada, Egypt, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and
India, to name a few---prefer the appointment of career diplomats
as ambassadors/high commissioners. UK and France are
exemplary on this point as both countries have constantly adhered
to a ratio of 95%.

4. There is no transparency in the appointment of non-career


ambassadors. The career corps is deeply disappointed and
disheartened over the fact that it has not been informed nor
consulted prior to the issuance of such appointments. In the
instant appointment of Mr. Conejos, dated 3 September 2009, the
corresponding document, which appears patently flawed on its face
and its process, was seen only about 3 weeks after said date.

5. Finally, though not squarely attending the appointment of Mr.


Conejos, the career corps also takes issue over the issuance of
appointments to persons beyond the age of 65. There are at least
fourteen (14) non-career ambassadors beyond 65 years old in
violation of both the letter and spirit of Section 23 of the Foreign
Service Act.
We have enough qualified, dedicated and energetic career chiefs of
mission. Every political appointment nips the life’s career of six Foreign
Service Officers.

I am only one of them who had the honor of serving under your
leadership for the last eight years as Consul General in Hong Kong and
Ambassador to Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark,
Norway and Iceland. I feel it is both my duty and responsibility to bring to
your immediate attention this matter. Equally important, my colleagues in
the foreign service hope that your term as President will have a legacy that
strengthened the drive towards professionalizing the Foreign Service. A
constitutionally mandated career service is a true pillar of a strong Republic.
This was the legacy of your great father who authored the first Philippine
Foreign Service Act. We trust it is yours too.

Sincerely,

VICTORIA S. BATACLAN
President
Union of Foreign Service Officers (Unifors)
List of Career & Non-Career Ambassadors
(as of 28 September 2009)

Career Non-career CDA


1. Amman (Julius Torres) 1. ASEAN PM (Orly 1. Abu Dhabi
2. Ankara (Pedro Chan) Mercado) 2. Abuja
3. Bangkok (Antonio 2. Athens (Bobby Tiglao) 3. Baghdad
Rodriguez) 3. Beijing (Sonia Brady-
4. Beirut (Gilberto Asuque) ret)
5. Berne (Ma. Theresa 4. Berlin (Delia Albert-ret)
Lazaro) 5. Budapest (Alejandro del
6. Brasilia (Teresita Barsana) Rosario)
7. Brussels (Cristina Ortega) 6. Brunei (Alexander
8. Bucharest (Isaias Begonia) Yano)
9. Buenos Aires (Rey 7. Canberra (Ernesto de
Carandang) Leon)
10. Cairo (Oscar Valenzuela) 8. Dhaka (Zenaida
11. Caracas (Jocelyn Garcia) Rabago-ret)
12. Damascus (Wilfredo 9. Holy See (Mercy
Cuyugan) Tuason)
13. Dili (Aileen Bugarin) 10. Jakarta (Vidal Querol)
14. Doha (Crescente Relacion) 11. Koror (Ramoncito
15. Dublin (Ariel Abadilla) Marino)
16. Geneva PM (Erlinda 12. London (Antonio
Basilio) Lagdameo)
17. Hanoi (Laura del Rosario) 13. Madrid (Ana Ugarte)
18. Havana (MacArthur 14. Mexico (Francisco
Corsino) Ortigas)
19. Islamabad (Jaime 15. Muscat (Acmad Omar)
Yambao) 16. New Delhi (Francisco
20. Kuala Lumpur Benedicto)
(Victoriano Lecaros) 17. New York PM (Hilario
21. Kuwait (Ricardo Endaya) Davide Jr.)
22. Manama (Corazon Bahjin) 18. Ottawa (Jose Brillantes)
23. Moscow (Victor Garcia) 19. Phnom Penh (Noe
24. Nairobi (Domingo Wong)
Lucenario) 20. Port Moresby (Shirley
25. Oslo (Elizabeth Vicario Ho)
Buensuceso) 21. Prague (Irene
26. Paris (Rora Tolentino) Sarmiento)
27. Pretoria (Virgil Reyes) 22. Riyadh (Antonio
28. Seoul (Luis Cruz) Villamor)
29. Singapore (Minda Cruz) 23. Rome (Philippe
30. Stockholm (Zen Collinson) Lhuiller)
31. Tel-aviv (Petronila Garcia) 24. Santiago (Consuelo
32. Tripoli (Alejandrino Puyat Reyes)
Vicente) 25. Tehran (Generoso
33. Vienna (Linglingay Senga)
Lacanlale) 26. The Hague (Cardozo
34. Vientiane (Marilyn Luna)
Alarilla) 27. Tokyo (Domingo
35. Washington, D.C. (Willy Siazon-ret)
Gaa) 28. Wellington (Bienvenido
36. Yangon (Hellen Barber) Tejano)
29. WTO PM (Manuel
Antonio Teehankee)

Names in BOLD – Tour has ended (or about to end in 60 days). – 8 career ambassadors.